The Slog, The Catastrophe, Is Life

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I didn’t come up with the title to this blog; I borrowed it from the last line of the New York Time’s March 13th review of Catastrophe’s final season (binge it on Amazon now). It felt particularly poignant this week. Life is filled with many small catastrophes, and all we can do is to keep moving forward, hopefully taking lessons with us through the slog. The picture above was from the New York Time’s Talk I was lucky to attend Monday night. I’m a huge fan of the show, and I’m sad that it ended. If you haven’t indulged, there are only 4 short seasons, and I highly, highly recommend them.

One of my new doctors is on Canal Street, which gave me an excellent reason to check out Canal Street Market. Among noisy street hawkers and NYC souvenirs, you’ll find this oasis of calm. Half the space is small vendors selling everything from sake to luxuries, and the other half is food – all with an Asian slant. I was so thrilled to find Joe’s Steam Rice Roll as it has been on my “to eat” list for a while. I ordered Joe’s signature with the works and drizzled hot sauce on top.

Wednesday I took a tour of the Richard Avedon Foundation, a place I could easily have walked by and never knew was there. But thanks to the Ex-Expat group in NYC I spent two hours learning more about the prolific photographer who shot everyone who was anyone, and lots of everyday people in between. When asked of the director of the foundation if Dick was nice, he answered, “Dick was engaged. I wouldn’t say he was nice.”


There are many reasons to visit Bushwick, Brooklyn; one is the the Bushwick Collective, and another is Roberta’s Pizza. The Bushwick Collective event is in June, but you need not wait to see incredible street art. The entire neighborhood is an outdoor art gallery and changes often. I went on a walking tour with Ronnit, who I thought was an excellent guide. Half of the tour was spent in small galleries with up and coming artists, and the other half was outside. I’d been to Bushwick on another tour and didn’t enjoy the guide as much as I enjoyed Ronnit. She gives you just the right amount of insight but leaves you to explore and inquire on your own. And with Roberta’s, unlike at night, you can walk right in and sit down for lunch.

Friday night Tom and I attended the first night of previews for Burn This with Adam Driver and Keri Russell. I was so excited for this show and wanted it to be good, as I am a huge fan of both actors and thought the chemistry between them could be really intense. Driver has already been on Broadway, but this was Russell’s debut. Before giving my honest opinion (and what do I know anyway), I will remind you that it was the FIRST night of previews, and I’m sure some of the nerves and the kinks will get worked out before it opens officially on April 16th.

The show seems dated, and all the “chemistry” takes place off-stage, so it’s difficult to imagine them together. The play starts slow, and Driver doesn’t appear for quite some time, but when he does there is electricity. He is a man on fire, and you can’t wait to see what he will say or do next. For that reason alone, I say buy a ticket. And I have high hopes that Keri picks up her Broadway ball and starts running.

We sat a few rows behind Keri’s partner, Matthew Rhys, who was a doll. He spoke to everyone around him before the show, and at intermission, and posed for lots of fan photos. He looks a lot more relaxed than his days on The Americans.

 

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If you are interested, I wrote an article I posted on Linkedin about how I think the scales of college admissions can be un-tipped. Working in the field has given me a birds-eye view into its inherent inequities, and I have a few ideas about how to fix them.

Saturday was such a spring tease. I am more than ready for the real thing.

Have fun. Be bold.

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The Brass Nameplate

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Little things can mean so much.

It was just your typical brass nameplate placed haphazardly on a desk, the same as the hundreds of others in the massive open plan office space on the far west side of the city.  But, to me it meant everything. My oldest child Thomas works at Apple in San Francisco. When he first started working there, Tom and I went to visit, and due to the stringent visitation rules, we met him in the lobby, took pictures in front of the Apple logo, and ate in the very impressive cafeteria. I was, and still am, extremely proud, however, when I try to construct a picture in my mind of him at work, things get a little fuzzy.

When my second son Hayden started work in June 2016 in Herald Square, I was thrilled he was so close by, and we would meet every so often for lunch. But, I never saw his desk, or met the people he worked with, and although I was proud, again, I couldn’t picture my boy at work.

This week I got an invite to visit Hayden at his new office, and have lunch in his cafeteria. It seems silly writing this, but seeing that nameplate just meant everything to me. It said that for all intents and purposes, I had done my job. He was a fully formed human, out in the world, responsible for himself and beholden to others. Now, when I get a text from him mid-day, I can picture him in his seat, or walking the long rows of other desks, and even ordering a chopped salad in his cafeteria. I think I’ll insist when next I’m in SF.

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I saw this the other day, and it struck me as pure wisdom. I eat out a lot, but I realize that it matters less what the food tastes like if you are sitting with the right people, and vice versa. #foodforthought

Speaking of #foodforthought, I’d like to invite all my readers to come to one of the most delicious fundraisers in NYC. Wednesday, March 6th at The Lighthouse at Chelsea PiersThe Bronx Letters Foundation will hold it’s annual Chefs’ Tasting Food for Thought Benefit. Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin will be the night’s host, we will celebrate the life of our Patron Saint, Anthony Bourdain who helped us raise funds for our public school in the Bronx for the past ten years, and we will honor our past principal and the current  Senior Education Advisor in the NYC Mayor’s Office, Brandon Cardet-Hernandez.

Some of the best chefs in NYC will be there to cook! You can still buy tickets here. Trust me, this event can cause some of the worst #foodieFOMO.

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I went to see the new Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum this week. My tip: buy the timed tickets ahead, and go alone. This exhibit is dense. There is so much to see, and read. It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours to yourself. I discovered a new fabulous app while at the museum. It’s called ASK. Download it on your phone, take a picture of something you see in the museum, and ask your questions directly to the staff sitting in a room in the basement (I asked if it was AI or real people) waiting to answer. The team consists of an archaeologist, and anthropologist, as well as art historians and educators.

And eat in their restaurant, The Norm. The menu is Frida inspired and quite delicious. I first became obsessed with Frida when I read The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver and my fascination continued when I saw Mercedes Ruehl play her at the theater in Sag Harbor a gozillion summers ago. One of my favorite quotes of hers (although I have many), “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

She was comparing the love of her life to when she was hit by a bus.

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I can taste the spring in the waning winter days. But if it doesn’t come soon, I may purchase one of these.

Go see Network on Broadway. Bryan Cranston is fabulous. I bought the partial view last minute tickets on SeatGeek in Row E for $75, and I was very pleased with my purchase. There are so many monitors on display; you don’t miss much.

I am looking forward to seeing the premiere of the final season of Catastrophe at an upcoming NYTimesTalk. The show is hilarious and authentic. I’m sad that this will be the last season but thrilled to “meet” Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in person.

One last discovery of the week: Dr. Hilary Brenner! I never needed a podiatrist before I moved to NYC, but walking 5 miles everyday can be a killer on your feet. She takes insurance, her office is a one minute walk from the 4,5 Fulton Street stop, and she’s adorable.

The good news? March begins on Friday. I think we can say we officially made it through another NYC winter.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

A Politics-Free Weekend

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This is my third blog entry I’ve written while traveling on the Hampton Jitney. It’s a pretty decent place to write as they have free wifi, people are not allowed to talk on their cell phones, and chatter must be kept to a minimum. Also, it’s always a long ride – the length depending on what time of year it is, and which town you are coming from/going to. This weekend I was in Montauk, the farthest town on the map, but it’s offseason, so the traffic was light.

I was spending the weekend with friends, some old, some relatively new, but all of whom know how to eat well, drink the good wine, and stay physically fit (among this group I am the slacker.) However, when it comes to politics, we are all over the map. With the Senate hearings in our rearview mirror, a pact was made not to discuss the proceedings with the group. At first, it was difficult, as it kept coming up, but by the end of the weekend, I realized what a gift it was. We were able to spend time talking about music and books, food and travel, flowers and the worst jobs we’d ever had. There were no arguments, no insults, but there were a lot of laughs. These days, when politics divides us more than it brings us together, it’s important to remember why you are friends with the people in your life, and what brought you together in the first place. There is always time for healthy debate, but maybe not during one of the last beautiful Indian summer weekends.

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I still continue with my weekly “quickie” sessions at Stretch’d. I can’t say enough good things about this place, and how I feel when I leave. And their small shop has been the source of all my recent gift purchases – they have a nice selection of CBD products.

Tuesday I started a 6 week refresher course in Bridge at The Honors Bridge Club. I’ve played bridge for years, but it’s always good to go back and review conventions and best play practices. I was also blown away by the spread they put out. In addition to a full breakfast, they had cookies, cakes and an unlimited supply of peanut M&M’s. That could be a problem.

Are you a reader of The Atlantic Magazine? It’s super informative and one of the best things they do is hold events on relevant topics that are free and open to the public. Tuesday night I went to one on Artificial Intelligence. It was very informative – the panel of experts were all women in tech, which I loved. The event lasted about 90 minutes and included drinks and apps before it started. It was hosted at the uber cool Neuehouse. Check out their upcoming events here: The Atlantic Events.

Tom and I enjoyed Wednesday night at the NYC Ballet. The new season opened recently and we were fortunate to see an evening of Balanchine with some incredible talent, old and new. And we were given the inside scoop on everything we needed to know at each intermission (there were two) from our friend and ballet expert Jacqueline. The season continues for the next two weeks: NYC Ballet.

Things I’m looking forward to this week: The new season of Poldark. If you haven’t, you must.

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Child #4 returns from college for fall break and celebrating Tom’s birthday. I love it when he catches up to my age.

Have fun. Be bold.